Coming up with one of their seemingly never ending compilations pulled from their bottomless bag of ways to reissue their material Verve has now started a `Round Midnight series which features performances by artist or instrument, or composers, or vocalists or the blues. This collection is of trumpet players mostly in small combo covering a span of about 20 years, from 1944 to 1964. This album pulls together some of the best trumpet players that were working during this period, from a 1944 performance by Rex Stewart accompanied by his fellow Duke Ellington Orch. members to a 1962 version of "Rue Prevail"by Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet. One of the prime tracks presented is Clark Terry's muted trumpet on "I Want a Little Girl" with the Oscar Peterson Trio. Not only do you hear some excellent cuts from well known trumpets played Clifford Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge and Chet Baker, but there's also an opportunity to hear solo efforts by equally as adept players, but ones who never quite reach the pinnacle of the aforementioned. such as the lyrically masterful Harry "Sweets" Edison, the swingingPete and Conte Candoli, the modernist Booker Little and the blues inflections of Joe Newman. The cuts come from albums made by the participants as leaders, or from their solos with groups they were sideman with. Not only does the opportunity present itself to hear some excellent trumpet, but there is some good work by sidemen such as Barney Kessel on "Willow Weep for Me". Given the overall theme of the album, Midnight, most of the tunes are ballads played in a manner suitable to the bewitching hour, and played in a lovely, nuzzling manner. This is one compilation worth having.
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan